Book Tour of “These Dreams” by Nicole Clarkston

“These Dreams” is a haunting, soul wrenching and heartwarming dream of a book, which gives the reader the idea that two souls are bound in more ways than one.” – Sophia Thorsen

TD Horiz Blog Tour BannerM

Book Blurb:

An abandoned bride

A missing man

And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitzwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. 

An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn – alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever; she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

Nicole had this to say of her new book;

This scene is the first in the book where Elizabeth “sees” Darcy. Her longing for him is so intense, and her guilt over what she perceives as her role in his “death” is so overpowering, that one small triggered memory explodes upon her senses. She has already shared some empathic bond, which she cannot understand, but in this scene we see her transported, for just a moment, to a real conversation with him. The moment leaves her reeling and discomposed, as well as even more heartbroken for the many ways she had misunderstood him. As a writer, I have already planned out how the story will unfold. As a consequence, I am often less affected by the emotion of a scene than a reader experiencing it for the first time. I do find, however, that for some of these intense scenes of grief and heartbreak that I had to almost method act my way through them. If I wasn’t grieving myself, my writing lost its authenticity. There were several days when I had to stop writing scenes like this because I was just in too good of a mood. I had to feel Elizabeth’s devastation and guilt, and I had to experience Darcy’s hopelessness and solitude, in order to capture those feelings with any semblance of fidelity to the characters.

You may also notice that this scene bears a strong resemblance to Janet Taylor’s gorgeous cover. She found that cover before I even had the scene written, although I had it planned in my mind. It absolutely gave me shivers to see it! There are two more “tree” scenes later in the book, and they, too, were already planned when she found this. I can only call it serendipity! I hope you enjoy this excerpt. ~NC

Nicole was nice enough to let us see a scene from the book; I will warn you, you’ll need a handkerchief and maybe a cup of tea AFTERWARDS! Because if you drink while reading this scene, you’ll regret it… I did *smiles sheepishly*

December, 1813

Longbourn                                                                       

November passed, and with it the still, pleasant days of the long autumn. Deep winter dawned one morning with a vengeance, just as the residents of Longbourn fell under the pall of Lydia’s new circumstances. Elizabeth had not, after all, gone to London, for she felt her presence more sorely wanted now than ever by her youngest sister. She was the only remaining Bennet sister who felt thus, for Kitty and Mary had distanced themselves even farther from their wayward younger sibling—Mary, out of perceived righteousness, and Kitty, out of boredom.

Mrs Bennet’s nerves distressed her greatly during this time, for she worried now whether Lydia ought to risk the expected journey to Newcastle and her husband’s regiment. It was not to be attempted by coach, surely, but she felt it irregular in the extreme that Lydia should birth her child in the home of her girlhood before Mr Wickham had sent for her. “How everyone will talk!” she was often heard to lament. “Why, they will carry on as if you had no husband at all! Mrs Long will gossip so, and those Lucases cannot remain silent either. Lydia, my love, do take care not to leave your ring in your jewelry box when we have callers, and do not let it turn over so that the diamond cannot be seen! Such a fine ring it is. Surely no penniless soldier could have purchased it. They must see that!”

Mr Bennet, when he was present for these expressions of motherly concern, was known simply to roll his eyes and raise his paper yet higher. Within a few more sentences from his wife, he would invariably snort his derision and stalk to the privacy of his library—often not sparing a word even for Elizabeth as he passed.

For her part, Elizabeth was desperate to divert her sister. Lydia’s secret was no longer a private matter, but Elizabeth remained unconvinced that the girl would not still attempt to do herself harm. Lydia spoke the proper words of humility and resignation, but that rebellious streak that had previously caused her such great trouble was still very much a part of her character. It was evident in her eyes—a certain hardness that would not yet surrender. Whether she meant to work it for her own restoration or instead, it would prove her undoing remained uncertain.

As a consequence, Elizabeth seldom left Lydia’s side. She exerted all her considerable charm and wit to draw out the girl from her self-imposed solitude, and many an afternoon found them engaged in needlework or, more commonly, discordant duets at the pianoforte. These did little to improve Lydia’s skill, but much to lighten her moods.

A month’s time saw a minuscule improvement in Lydia’s spirits, but by mid-December, Elizabeth’s reserves of fortitude had paid a harsh toll. Her only escapes were those afternoons when she could consign the guardianship of her sister to Mrs Hill—for, as Mrs Bennet counseled, Lydia must be properly trained to manage her husband’s household when he sent for her, and surely an officer as distinguished as Mr Wickham would require a wife of the utmost sophistication and capability.

It was on these days when Elizabeth began walking regularly to Netherfield, bundled against the wind and rain. It was a restorative balm to her soul, sitting quietly for a time with Jane and even the kind Mr Bingley. Still, no matter the insistence of the application by her host and hostess, she could never be persuaded to take a room for the night. She often, however, availed herself of Jane’s new carriage when the weather had grown unpromising for a return walk.

This crisp afternoon held no rain, so Elizabeth bade her sister an affectionate farewell at the door. She deliberately did not see the worried looks exchanged by husband and wife as she turned down the steps, nor could she have known that, at a nod from Jane, Mr Bingley would summon one of his stable hands to unobtrusively follow her home to ensure her safety. She desired the solitude and the freedom of setting her own meandering pace, not intending to arrive again at Longbourn until nearly dusk.

She set out along an indirect way, one she had admired the previous year during her short residence at the house. It began near the manicured hedges and soon narrowed to a half-groomed path among the trees, leading down to a long grassy bank along the stream. The trail followed the water some way before turning back through an orchard, and finally, to the fields that bordered Longbourn. It was an isolated route, resplendent with the silver of impending frost and shrouded in a bower of blessed silence.

Elizabeth stopped as she neared the stream. This was her favourite scene along the route, where the shallows bubbled and coursed over the rocks and an old willow spread her bare branches over a little log bridge across the waters… and it was where she had once interrupted Mr Darcy’s silent reverie.

He had been leaning against that very tree, his tall frame only slightly off-balance as he stretched a long arm through the hanging branches to the trunk. His head had been bowed, seemingly lost in some private thought, until he heard her approach.

“Miss Bennet!” had cried he. He had then clamped his lips, as though fearful to speak another word.

Elizabeth had braced her shoulders then responded with a measured, “Mr Darcy,” followed by a short curtsey.

He had dropped his hand from the tree, casting about for some polite subject. “It is a fine day for walking,” he had offered—had there been some little eagerness in his tone?

“It is indeed, sir. This path is a favourite of mine. I beg you would excuse me for disturbing your solitude.” She had shifted her weight, preparing to walk on.

“It is no disturbance, Miss Bennet,” he had replied quickly. “I was about to return to the house.” His eyes had brightened, and she distinctly remembered a nervous swallow. Had he been about to offer to escort her?

“I am gratified to know that I do not trouble you, sir,” she had smiled archly. “I have only begun my constitutional, and so I shall bid you a good afternoon.”

“Do you ever ride, Miss Bennet?” he had interjected just as she was turning away.

Elizabeth had paused to study him curiously. Why should he have cared whether she ever rode? “I am perfectly capable of riding, sir, but I do not find it a terribly relaxing means of exercise.”

“No, but it need not always be relaxing. Rather, I should have thought one such as yourself might find it exhilarating. Have you never tried a fence?” His eyes had swept—very lightly—over her figure then, as though mentally evaluating her athletic prowess and suiting her with an appropriate mount and sidesaddle.

“No, sir. Horses tend to have a will of their own. As my own mind is quite determined to have its way, I do not like to think of matching my strength against that of a creature ten times my size.”

He had smiled then, and it had been the first time she had observed the small dimple in his cheek. Oh, that smile she remembered so well! The rare one, reserved only for quiet moments when… when he saw an opportunity to match wits. “It is not the power of the body, but the strength of the mind that determines a rider’s success. I believe yours to be one of remarkable tenacity, and I hope you will forgive the assumption that you enjoyed equestrian pursuits. Have you had some frightening experience?”

“I have been frustrated, and on more than one occasion. My own feet do not disobey me so readily as my father’s old hunter.”

Some spark had come to his eye then, and though his features had not moved, there had been a distinct light of humour to his countenance. Had he been mocking her, or… or flirting? “I trust, Miss Bennet, that should you ever undertake the enterprise with the whole force of your natural will, you shall meet with success.”

Elizabeth had felt a scowl spreading from her lips. “That is hardly a gentlemanly speech, sir. I cannot know whether you mean to compliment me, or call me willful.”

He had appeared shocked, either at her saucy retort or at the audacity of his own words. “I meant no offence, Miss Bennet. It was only an observation borne out by what I know of your character. You do not shrink from a challenge, and horsemanship can prove a valuable skill for a young lady. It seems likely that one day you will assume the weight of duties that will nearly demand such an accomplishment of you.” Had he been implying that she would one day be mistress of a larger estate than Longbourn?

“I thank you for your concern, sir. Should I ever find myself in need of an instructor to improve my riding, I shall not hesitate to seek your advice. For today, I prefer two feet to four.” She had glanced pointedly at Mr Darcy’s own feet then, just as he shifted one of them in her direction. Oh, mercy, he had been about to walk on with her! How could she have been so indifferent to his intentions?

He had stiffened noticeably. “Until dinner then, Miss Bennet. I wish you a pleasant outing.”

Elizabeth now braced against that very tree, gasping in horror. How sternly she had rebuffed his first overtures of friendship! Many other occasions of their early acquaintance had played again and again through her mind, but that first private talk had been nearly forgotten. How could she have missed his good opinion, shining in every uncomfortable syllable and pouring from his hesitant expression? Oh, dear heavens, he loved me even then!

She turned into the tree, bracing her arm against the cold bark and burrowing under it. Disgust with herself coupled with redoubled sorrow that she had deliberately misunderstood his meanings at nearly every encounter. Had she only been more reasonable, perhaps their brief, explosive acquaintance could have instead been one of mutual amity. Perhaps she might have perceived his unmerited passion, kept so viciously in check, and have understood the torment he sustained in determining not to offer for her. And perhaps… perhaps when he did at last succumb, she would have answered his ardent plea with gentleness, rather than indignation.

Four months they might have had together! So brief—what couple can truly form into one spirit in such a short span? Yet what would she have given to know him only a little better! To feel his lips brush her hair, just once—to hear him murmur lovingly, “My dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.”

A moan escaped her, a nearly inhuman cry of anguish as she crushed her face into the bark. If only she could substitute the physical pain of clasping that tree with all her strength for the wrenching suffering of her regrets! Yet it was not her own sorrow and loss that darkened her heart, but the certain knowledge that he had left this world believing she did not—never would! —care for him. The pain she had caused him could never be erased, and he had met his death never once hearing a tender word from her.

Four months she could have held him before that black day in August… But no! Had he been assured of her love, with her family in sufficient awe of his formidable approval, Lydia might never have been permitted to make that ill-fated journey! No dark errand might have then summoned him to the rotting underbelly of London, and no violent attack could have stricken him. It is all my own fault!

She beat her head mercilessly into the cold bark, almost wishing her brow would begin to bleed. Such an injury might at last bring atoning relief! Blood—Darcy’s blood—was no less on her hands than of those who raised their fists against him, and never could she be absolved. No court in the world would convict her, but what of poor Georgiana Darcy, if she knew all? Could she smile upon Elizabeth Bennet, the woman her brother had given his life to please, and hold her blameless? Certainly not! Because of her own pride and resentment, the best man in the world now lay cold in the crypt of his fathers.

She remained there, clutching the trunk of that unyielding old willow, until her fingers grew numb with the chill. Sighing deeply, she at last stepped back and looked once more on that hallowed ground where he had once stood. The grass, the leaves, even the lively brook were now muted. All was shriveled and dying in the ruthless grip of winter. Could her heart not similarly freeze? For a few months at least, could her love not slumber so she might know some measure of rest?

Oh, but even if the gift of merciful oblivion were offered her, she could never choose it. Elizabeth’s eyes scanned up the barren tree to the dwindling glow of the frost-obscured sun. To forget the pain of losing Darcy would be to grow insensible to her own conviction that there could never be another like him. Not for any inducement would she sacrifice the joy of being loved by one such as he, even for some relief from her sorrow. She would cling to that knowledge, that once she had been loved and loved in return, and it had wrought a tenderness and a beauty in her that left her forever marked by its passing. She would content herself—she must! —for the power of this love must suffice for a lifetime.

Elizabeth clutched a hand to her chest, wishing to seize that ache and to never let it go, for it was now her only token of him. I will always belong to you! She vowed silently. Never will another touch my heart, for you took it with you.

Her mouth worked frantically as she made her resolution, desperate to avoid another wild outcry of anguish into the woods. None should know of her sorrow—it was hers to bear willingly and alone. Trembling, she dashed the cold tears from her cheeks. Then she turned quietly and resumed her solitary march to Longbourn.

WARNING ⚠ As you can read dear readers, handkerchiefs are definitely going to be needed for this book!

But I will admit that the book turned out to be a favourite and a kindred spirit. And personally, I cannot wait for the next book!

Review by Sophia Thorsen;

At first I was worried about the premise of the book, but quickly it turned so very intriguing and I thought it was sooo strongly written, so very strong and heartfelt.

Personally I think you would have to be heartless if you don’t feel Elizabeth’s pain, heartache, despair, hope and love throughout the book. My heart broke to pieces more than once, during the read, and I will admit to a close call on a fainting spell at a certain point in the book! I will warn that very tender and heartbreaking scenes will appear between ch8-10!

I was extremely pleased with the way, Nicole, wrote this book and how much she allowed us to see of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana during the book, and even the Matlock’s appeared more than once. Colonel Fitzwilliam, really grew on me during this book, especially how he grew as a character, throughout the book, and with his bachelor status in danger from an old flame, will he remain a bachelor or will he allow his heart to rule him for once? Or will he let old prejudices stand in his way again?

The themes of the book goes largely on patriotism, loyalty, pride and love and something even deeper; hope and determination. Elizabeth and Darcy are bound together, through their souls in ways deeper than marriage, something that allows them both to survive and keep their love as intense as it ever could have been, had they been married.

Though I wanted to kick Lady Catherine’s ass more than once during the book, as she was an interfering b****! But the character which surprised me the most was Lydia Wickham need Bennet, she had a very strong development throughout the book, especially after her arrival to Pemberley! Though someone else surprised me by the end of the book, and for once Wickham surprised me enough to think that he MIGHT be redeemed after all. But … who knows! *shrugs*

But I promise there is a very HAPPY ending by the end of this heartfelt and heartbreaking read, dear readers!

Nicole ClarkstonAuthor Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, an N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became bestselling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

Contact Info: (Link is embedded in the name)

Website

Goodreads Author Page

Goodreads Blog

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Buy Links for Nicole’s other books:

CreateSpace:

Rumours & Recklessness

No Such Thing as Luck

Northern Rain

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Amazon:

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Northern Rain

No Such Thing as Luck

Rumours & Recklessness

Annnnnnnd now dear readers, we finally come to the Giveaway opportunity:

The giveaway will consist of 10 eBooks and is international.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b14/

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

And that dear readers was that for now! But please leave a comment below won’t you? And go and buy the book, you WON’T regret it!

See you when I see you guys *winks*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Jane Austen Festival 2017

Once again the trees turned yellow, and the calendar with yummy Captain Wentworth told me it was September again, and that month, many of us relate to only 1 thing: the annual Jane Austen festival in Bath, U.K. Well besides a delayed flight, I arrived in London and quickly onto a west going train towards Bath.

The sandstone houses are the first hint of Bath you see, as you turn the last corner towards Bath Spa station, coming in on the train, my stomach was making somersaults in nervousness and anticipation of once more being back in my beloved Bath.

Got off the train and met up with Elaine, we went and got redressed in our regency finery, and waited for Emma, Cati and Christin. While waiting I met up with Cassandra Grafton, at the unique and still ancient Pump Rooms. Cass was a darling and got some things for me from the Fayre, including a copy of “The Guide to Jane Austen’s England” which I presented on my blog a few months back, and the new Jane Austen 10 pound note and as a surprise Mr Darcy’s Quest bookmark!

And of course it started to rain, but soon my friends and I were all together again, and ready for fun and games! We checked out our apartment, which ended up being really nice with a big living/sleeping/kitchen room, a bedroom and a bathroom so we were installed and got food from Sainsbury’s as we were all tired and ready to drop.

20170919_150916000_iOS

Saturday dawned and we got up and got ready for regency fun, I dressed in my chemise and white gown decorated with blue flowers, we went around town, got photographed a thousand times or so, most without as much as a by your leave. But we enjoyed ourselves, went to the talk with Professor John Mullan, who spoke of Northanger Abbey, which Cass Grafton also attended,

20170916_120528345_iOS

Then we were off for lunch at Sally Lunn’s where we were joined by my new acquaintance Robin, and our longtime friends Sarah and David. It was a really nice lunch, especially as I had never been there before. Sally Lunn’s is also the oldest restaurant in Bath, dating from 1482 or so.

20170919_060733023_iOS

After a walk around the town, Putney Bridge, JA centre, and the Royal Crescent we walked back to the apartment via the gravel walk where Wentworth and Anne walked together. We were though caught in a rather viscous rain shower on the way back, while my inner author sketched out a romantic scene taking place on the gravel walk between a couple of my own creation. We also walked to the Parade Gardens to view the annual Austen plant item, which this year showcased a book. I was in my red Redingote and bergere, and the weather was dry so I couldn’t have been happier.

Birthday presents were given to Cati, Emma and I were quite surprised at getting some as well, an embroidered bookmark (spelling; Gryffindor) from Elaine, a bag (a Gryffindor/Hogwarts bag) from Emma and a necklace from Edinburgh from Christin, which I had admired back in March.

Soon we were all dressed in ball clothes; chemises, dresses and hair were dressed and makeup was put on. Emma did a fantastic job of doing all of our hairs, so we looked like a million pounds each! I was in my white ball gown and new jewels from Guildhall.

20170916_173225190_iOS

We made our way to the assembly rooms, and when we were around a few minutes from the rooms, we got caught in a heavy rainstorm. When we arrived we were wet and I was see-through. Most ladies went straight to the ladies room, to get dresses and shoes dry after the rain. After around 30 minutes, dresses and shoes were dry, drinks were bought and dancing commenced. I shared two dances with my dear sister but otherwise, I danced with old acquaintances which were so pleasurable, especially as they are always very nice and experienced. The girls and I had an amazing evening, laughed and danced – I was called Lydia since I danced every dance during the evening! Well if that is all it takes, then I’m guilty as charged!

Sunday dawned, too soon for my taste as per usual; we packed our bags and the car before we made our way to the Pump Rooms, where I had reserved a table for breakfast. After breaking our fast, of English breakfast, crossaint, pancakes and the like, and since it was the Pump Rooms, we took the waters, which tasted like hot water with a really bad aftertaste *shudders*

We went shopping for the last things, including posters, books and other knick-knacks, then back to the car with the items so we didn’t have to carry them at the promenade, and finally back to the Abbey for the mini promenade. As people appeared, photos were taken, shared and outfits admired and envied. Email addresses were exchanged so contact could remain during the coming year.

After the promenade, where the ladies came in all from riding gowns, to walking dresses to elaborate gowns, capes and muffs due to the coldness of the weather, while the gentlemen came in either their long trousers or knee breeches, shirts and their coats, walking canes and top hats. After a little talking, one million pictures, my friends and I said goodbye to people to make our way to LHR and Stanstead airports. Sad, after only 48-50 hours! But as always it was good fun and wonderful being back with those four crazy and funny friends of mine! I can’t wait for more!

Fair Stands the Wind Book Tour

fstwhorizontalbanner

Hello Hello Dear Readers, I’m baaaaack! Summer is over, and September is onto us again! That means not only is the Jane Austen Festival in Bath starting fairly soon, but that means a return to school, university or work after the holidays. And my good friend, Janet Taylor has once again pointed me in the direction of a new author; called Catherine Lodge, who has written “Fair stands the wind” so I read it. Read on!

Fair Stands the Wind
By Catherine Lodge

Book Blurb:

We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself. But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other? Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

So Catherine was so kind as to add a taste for your enjoyment of THE FIRST Chapter! This is her first book tour, which I’m pleased to host or be part of. Enjoy!

The Assembly Rooms at Meryton were hot, crowded, and consumed with curiosity. The local oracles had prophesied the attendance of their new neighbour and, unlike the oracles of old, had gone on to estimate his fortune, his height, and his single state in uncommon, if implausible, detail. All that remained was to view the gentleman and his party, the oracles having fallen into dispute as to their number and relationship to the main attraction of the evening. The five Bennet sisters had been kept close to their mother all evening, for that worthy lady was intent upon throwing some one or other of them into the path of the newly arrived Mr Bingley as soon as possible and before Lady Lucas got to him or, worse, Mrs Goulding and her bony niece. Elizabeth Bennet did her best to stifle a sigh. Her mother’s careful arrangements—“Jane, you must sit on my right hand, Lydia, you on my left since you are the most handsome of my girls”—had left her isolated between her sister Mary and a pillar. Since the former had brought one of her interminable conduct books, she was scarcely more company than the latter. Elizabeth exchanged looks of commiseration with her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, also seated firmly beside her own mama, and did her best to possess her soul in patience.

The five Bennet sisters had been kept close to their mother all evening, for that worthy lady was intent upon throwing some one or other of them into the path of the newly arrived Mr Bingley as soon as possible and before Lady Lucas got to him or, worse, Mrs Goulding and her bony niece. Elizabeth Bennet did her best to stifle a sigh. Her mother’s careful arrangements—“Jane, you must sit on my right hand, Lydia, you on my left since you are the most handsome of my girls”—had left her isolated between her sister Mary and a pillar. Since the former had brought one of her interminable conduct books, she was scarcely more company than the latter. Elizabeth exchanged looks of commiseration with her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, also seated firmly beside her own mama, and did her best to possess her soul in patience.

On the stage, the serpent player gave a preparatory honk, and the band swept raggedly into the third set of the evening. The dancers bowed, curtsied, and began the figure, Mr Wright leading off with his left hand as usual and being put firmly back in place by his partner. Elizabeth counted the people present, counted the ladies, subtracted the one from the other to produce the number of gentlemen—which gave the number of women who would be without partners—counted the number of feathers in Lady Lucas’s headdress, divided the number of feathers by the difference between the number of ladies and the number of gentlemen, and was faintly cheered when the result turned out to be a prime number. She sighed and was just about to commence an attempt to calculate the floor space of the ballroom, based on an estimated average length and breadth of the floorboards when the main event of the evening finally occurred.

The doors opened, and the party from Netherfield swept in, led by an undeniably handsome, if somewhat overdressed, lady. The object of everyone’s curiosity was a smiling, young gentleman of perhaps four-and-twenty, regrettably shorter than the first entrant, whom he introduced as his sister. Despite that, he was by no means ill looking and appeared good-humoured, which—as Mrs Phillips remarked in a rather too penetrating whisper—was better than mere longshanks any day of the week.

This remark gained an immediate and unfortunate point when the rest of the party entered: another lady and gentleman, who ignored each other so pointedly they had to be married and a final gentleman. The latter was a very tall, dark-haired young man, somewhat older than Mr Bingley, well dressed in a dark blue coat of austere cut, who had chosen to disfigure a particularly fine countenance with a pair of green-lensed spectacles. The buzz of speculation, which had begun to die down, rose again to renewed heights, a noise that did not go unnoticed by its object who became—although it scarcely seemed possible—even more upright and impassive. Mr Bingley was making introductions, and an immediate and rather ill-bred silence fell as everyone strained to hear. “… my sister Hurst and her husband and my particular friend Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy.”

Review of “Fair stands the wind” by Sophia Thorsen,

When I first cracked the cover of “Fair Stands the Wind”, I was surprised and downright shocked at the story line I had to follow, first a more depressed Bennet household because of Mr. Bennet’s serious illness to his lungs and secondly the fact that Fitzwilliam Darcy is a Captain, a naval captain, and not the owner of Pemberley.

Yes, Captain Darcy, you did read that right guys, William is a Captain of the Navy! I think I got the shock and surprise of my life, but also made my mind wonder if the plot would lead towards a sort of Persuasion’ish plot or a Darcy-Elizabeth-hate-love relationship throughout the book. But in the ending, I had to get into the head of an Elizabeth who is ready to follow duty over her heart because of her father’s illness, but also a Darcy who is having ill effects on his eyes and get dizzy after an injury. What made my heart ache was because Darcy isn’t arrogant or proud, but sensible and still unsure of how worthy he is of affections, especially Elizabeth’s.

Another point where I was shocked beyond measure was the fact that Georgiana and a second Mrs Darcy arrived at Netherfield Park, two women who are repressed to a degree where they hardly dare to open their mouths.  But I was delighted to see, that under Darcy’s stern naval discipline Darcy still has the heart of a tender and loving brother, and a dutiful son too.

fstwfrontcover wobldThe third point was that it was an elder Darcy son who owns Pemberley, and who has let drink and whoring be the order of the day, and worse Wickham as the priest of Kympton parish, the worst case scenario to many JAFF readers, and authors. To imagine what wickedness that went on at Pemberley made my blood boil on Darcy’s behalf! And truly feel how awful it must have been for Georgiana and Mrs Darcy.

What surprised me more was the fact how quickly Elizabeth and Darcy developed tender feelings for each other, the fact was that they bonded over their worry and care of Georgiana. I must admit to celebrating rather loudly when Darcy proposed, a rather sensible proposal to Elizabeth, just before Collins has the chance after the Netherfield Ball. I applauded rather loudly at that, and what a drama that ensues after that. From sensible marriage to a deep and lasting love affair. Just as most… okay all JAFF readers prefer, myself included. Yes, I know, guilty as charged, I’m a hopeless romantic!

The whole book surprised me with its tone; it went from depressed to ecstatic at the ending, though the ending did leave me with a question… though the ending was extremely perfect.

Definitely a read I will recommend. Four hearts out of five I would personally give the book. Catherine definitely has a way to let the reader get caught in the book and make them stick until the very end. I hope to see more of Catherine’s writings in the years to come.

Aaaaaaaaand… here is the giveaway opportunity;

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

 http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b12/?

Though if you are desperate to get your hands on the book ASAP, then here are the buy Links:

Fair Stands the Wind   (Amazon US paperback version) https://www.amazon.com/dp/168131018X/sr=8-1/qid=1504289942/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1504289942&sr=8-1

Author Bio:

Catherine Lodge is a semi-retired lawyer and lecturer, living in Yorkshire–a part of the UK even more beautiful than Derbyshire. One of five daughters, although by birth order regrettably the Jane, she found 19th Century literature early in her teens and never looked back–even if that meant her school essays kept coming back with “archaic!” written in the margin next to some of her favourite words. She still thinks that “bruited” is a much nicer word than “rumoured.”

Catherine Lodge After years of drafting leases and pleadings, she finally started to write for fun in her forties and has never stopped since. Much of this will never see the light of day, having been fed to the digital equivalent of a roaring bonfire, but “Fair Stands the Wind” is the first book she thinks worthy of public attention. She spends her day fixing computer problems for friends and family, singing in her local choir, and avoiding the ironing

Contact Info: (Link is embedded in the name)

Facebook

Email

Well, dear readers, that’s it for this time around! Please do leave a comment on the blog, and follow along since it will be my JA festival blog entry up next! Jep, I’m off for Bath on the 15th of September!!! A whole weekend of Regency fun, dancing and friendships!

See you when I see you guys! *winks cheekily*

A Quest for Mr. Darcy by Cassandra Grafton

Darcy returns to Derbyshire after a year away, he has put himself on a quest; to do his duty and marry to protect Pemberley and his sister’s happiness. But much have changed in the year he has been away, not only in Derbyshire but also to the Bennet’s.

Will Darcy’s path once again cross Elizabeth’s, since she suddenly is closer than ever. And with Bingley and his mischievous younger sisters – Darcy’s life is about to be turned on its head again. And will Colonel Fitzwilliam ever leave behind his supposition of staying a bachelor?

I can’t tell how often I cursed, praised, laughed and cried during this read, but I’m sure if I asked Cassandra, she would be able to tell you how often she laughed at my reactionary messages about the book.

Another amazing read, each chapter was a masterpiece in itself. The prose was brilliant, and easy to get through, I will admit to finish the book within 48 hours of receiving the book 😂 so I have read the book two or three times already. But the book was also a beast, there was twist and turns and cliff hangers enough to drive even the best of readers completely to the brink of hysteria a few times. But then again, there was plenty of romantic and sweet moments which my romantic heart loved beyond measure and made me sigh at the tenderness.

Just a few small examples will hopefully explain why the readers or at least I was loving this read but still cursed the author to the sky when she left dear Darcy and Elizabeth in a cliffhanger moment;

“Elizabeth’s silent plea to him had been his undoing. Rarely had he seen her show vulnerability, leastways, not powerless, wanting nothing else but to hold her and never let go; to gather her into his arms and carry her to wherever she might feel safe.”

“His gaze dropped to their clasped hands, neither clad in gloves. It was an intimacy rarely experienced, and Darcy could only assume it accounted for the sudden rush of colour into Elizabeth’s cheeks.”

“Dear God, Elizabeth, I thought I had lost you.” A restriction gripped his throats as he held her tightly, trying to still the frantic beating of his heart. Surely she would be able to hear it?

But of course, Cass, came through with another masterpiece which left me as an emotional wreck after finishing the book. You fly on the wings on anticipation, drop to the valley of despair and ends on the tops of the mountains of happily ever after. So I can only recommend this book Highly! But do keep a handkerchief ready when reading 📖 and a bracing cup of tea.

Thank you Cass! It was a pleasure and a privilege to read another of your lovely lovely books 📚

Austen Time Again

IMG_9655

Where has the year gone? It is yet again the end of summer, and another birthday of mine has been celebrated – and now there is only a short time until the Jane Austen Festival yet again begins.

I’ll be going again, just for a short visit during the last weekend. I can’t wait to meet up with old and new friends during the weekend, including listening to a talk from Professor Mullan and the Farthingales ball in the Assembly rooms after a quick visit to Prior Park at LONG last! This year will be my fourth year in Bath – wow! Really 4 years?! Feels like no time have passed since my first visit to Bath and attended my first ball. So much have happened since then, so many friends have come and gone, and so many memories made and treasured.

What an eventful year it has been, university college start for me (the first semester passed) my first time in Italy (Rome and Sperlonga), a visit to the highlands of Edinburgh with a ball in the assembly rooms called by Stuart Marsden, and lots and lots of book tours and reviews. And of course my first practical part of my education (6 weeks in a kindergarten).

My hope for my short visit to lovely Bath is to enjoy the company of my friends, meet up with acquaintances, including Cassandra Grafton and maybe Jane Odiwe, have fun at the ball and I hope for good weather for my first visit to Prior Park!

The autumn’s question will be: Will the long practical part of my education (next year for 6 months) be in England? Maybe even in Bath….

 

 

The Exile Kitty Bennet & Le Belle Èpoque

Book Tour of “The Exile, Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”

The Exile Kitty BennetWelcome back dear readers!

It’s been a little while since I was last here, but now its summer, and I have read yet another amazing story! This time it was by Don Jacobsen, and was called; “The Exile;Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”

I was made aware of this book by my good friend, Janet, who was good enough to make me aware that this was the SECOND book in a series, so I asked for recommendation if I should read the first to understand the second – well as a very curious and avid reader, I threw myself over the first book, I quickly got to the second book, after only a few days!

I was quite amazed with the Bennet family and their heritage in the form of a wardrobe. Though I did get some connotations to “The Witch, the lion and the wardrobe” when I started reading, and maybe I also did think about the wardrobe in Harry Potter as well.

I was speaking with Don Jacobsen about the wardrobe and the series in general, and he described the series main artifact and idea like this; the Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Jane Austen Universe. While the characters are familiar, I have endeavored to provide each of them with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional personalities, although not necessarily in the Regency period.  If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-traveling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.

The Wardrobe underlines my conviction that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back.

 Would it have been possible for them to do so staying on the Regency timeline? Perhaps. However, something tickled my brain—maybe it was the intersection between my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me.  Now my protagonists could be immersed in different timeframes beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realize their potentials and in the process carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century. Some Bennets will travel further and remain in the future longer than others. We may not be privy to accounts of all of the journeys they take. Rather, we may see whispers of those trips as they impact others

This wardrobe though was made by a mysterious carpenter in the year 1650, with special abilities which could only be accessed by Bennets. A wardrobe which transport people with Bennet blood. And ONLY people with Bennet blood. Two trips, one into the future and one trip back to their original time. All of us who have wished to travel in time, to get away from our troubles of our present, well Beware of What You Wish For!

The Bennet Wardrobe may grant it!

Longbourn, December 1811. The day after Jane and Lizzy marry, dawns especially, cold for young Kitty Bennet. Called to Papa’s bookroom, she is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet who intends to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall. She reacts like any teenager chafing under the “burden” of parental rules—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

Her heart’s desire? I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall!  Anywhere but here!

As Lydia later said, “The Wardrobe has a unique sense of humor.”

London, May 1886.  Seventeen-year-old Catherine Marie Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam, a scion of the Five Families and one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, while their paths may have crossed that May morning, Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future.  And Miss Bennet must decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.

Let’s just say I was biting my nails off in the attempt not to throw a tantrum when I finished this amazing, nerve-wrecking story, and now have to wait for book III in this series! But as Don Jacobsen was good enough to inform me, we can look forward to three more books, and possibly three spin-off novellas associated with this series – Take NOTICE readers, book III can be expected to be published in November!!

My review of “Exile; Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”  

To be honest, I thought I would hate the book when I opened the cover – but to my surprise and delight, I couldn’t put the book down!!! It was bold, daring, adventurous and nerve-wrecking!

Surprise was the first emotion, which made itself present when I started reading; Kitty going through the wardrobe – and better yet, a change to a character I thought was annoying and childish from Austen’s original work. And then to be introduced to dashing Henry Fitzwilliam, who was swoon-worthy from the first moment! Though also a man with a mysterious past.

We are also introduced to the concept of The Five Families; Bennet, Gardiner, Darcy, Bingley and Fitzwilliam, who have gained titles, power and social position by investments, knowledge and luck and are in Victorian Britain some of the wealthiest people in London. The wardrobes abilities are guarded by not only the five families but also a firm, which is run by descendants of known characters like Reynolds, Fitzwilliam and Darcy.

Well, to follow Kitty as she grew as a character was quite an impression, especially away from her family. We see a childish coughing ignored Kitty Bennet blossom into a strong, independent and intelligent woman, who survives everything which is thrown at her during her adventures.

New characters appear, and you start to question if your impressions are right about them, even your impression of Henry Fitzwilliam and Kitty are shaken.

The-ExileIf you are a literary buff, you will recognize the names of; Watson, Holmes, Colonel Sebastian Moran and Moriarty immediately – but by this time, you will have forgotten you were in the Victorian Britain with Kitty, I will assure you! We are also introduced to Dr. Freud, any who have read a little psychology knows he was a pioneer of working with peoples mind, not only their bodies – and much to my surprise we are introduced to not only Victorian London, but also Paris, and its hayday of impressionist painters who will play a somewhat crucial role to reunite Kitty with her beloved. And the ending, my god what a cliff hanger, enough to torment even the best of readers!

A slight warning to younger readers, mentions of kidnapping, rape, prostitution and beatings will appear.

I know dear readers, I know, it’s WAY too long this entry, but Don Jacobsen couldn’t help himself but allow us a glimpse into “The Exile; Kitty Bennet and Le belle époque” and his favorite chapter of the story;

 Chapter XXVIII

The Madeleine, Paris, Evening of November 7, 1891

Jacques Robard was freezing.  No matter how deeply he huddled into his old woolen overcoat, the wind cut through him and froze his breath as it left his nose, the vapor leaving a rime on his coal black moustache. He pulled a doubled over blanket tighter around his waist to shield his rapidly numbing legs. Robard sat hunched over on the bench seat of his empty hay wagon so as to present the smallest possible target for the fierce wind roaring out of the Ardennes, Jacques’ alienated homeland. His draft horse suffered as well, shaggy head dropped low into the blasts, lugging into his collar, making clopping steps to slowly move the big cart away from the great market at Les Halles in la Deuxieme Arrondisement.

With the last of the sun vanishing from the sky well before dinnertime, snow-laden clouds had been chased south by those vicious gusts. The precipitation was nearer ice than snow, stringing exposed skin and dancing in tiny whirlwinds spinning down dim and deserted streets.

Hein, mon vieux Porthos, this weather may undo us yet, no? Still a long way to go to St. Denis. If le patron had not insisted we make that delivery down to Les Halles, you’d be in the stables, and I would be warming up little Odette with a bottle of vin ordinarie.

Jacques Robard was a typical example of the classic French paysan…square built with powerful shoulders hardened by years of lifting and hauling. His shock of coarse black hair was well hidden under three ragged scarves. He would never be called handsome with his face a map of hard work and hard living. But he would not frighten small children either. Robard was quite pragmatic about his life, as befit his station, knowing that the aristos and bourgeoisie would allow him to exist on the margins as long as he knew his place and kept to it.

Truth be told, he found that knowledge to be comforting.

He had been born in the lost province of Lorraine, in Bar-le-Duc, just two years after the politician Poincaré. Now twenty-nine, Jacques had bounced around northern France, first with his parents after they fled the Prussians in 1870 and then, after his two years of compulsory service in the Army, on his own. He had considered doing another two as a rich boy’s remplacement, but he had thought better of it. Instead, he had chopped coal and iron in the Northwest near Nancy. He had worked barges running up the Meuse through Belgium into Antwerp. Gradually Paris had made her Siren’s song, capturing him as she had so many others. He had spent the last two years as a teamster guiding Porthos in from the hay market in St. Denis to the massive terminal at Les Halles where Paris came to shop.

The road from St. Denis through the Madeline was beginning to wear on him. There was little variety with the exception of new construction as the city stretched itself with the provinces draining excess labor into its center. He was not sure what he wanted to do with himself, but he was certain that he was nearly done staring at Porthos’ hindquarters day in and day out. Maybe a small farm with a good woman and a crowd of les petits.

Those dreams had to hold, however, until he had returned Porthos and the wagon to M. Laurent’s lot. However, Robard was beginning to doubt the successful outcome of his passage from the city; the air held a promise that Paris would be buried under several inches of snow and ice before dawn lightened the rooftops. If they had been outside of the city, he could have guided Porthos off the road and into the woods where the trees could have shielded man and beast from the worst of the storm.

Sadly, he had several miles to go before that form of relief could even be considered.

Tonight is no night to be caught outside. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for a stable and just hope that I can presume on the good nature of the hostler.

Maggie was sure that both she and Kate had seen their last sunset. Moving down the long stretch of the deserted Rue Vignon had taken what had seemed like hours. She had been half dragging, half carrying the weakening woman as the miscarriage, the drug, and the infernal cold sapped the lady’s remaining strength.

The first part of their flight had gone as smoothly as could be hoped given the circumstances. Not a soul interrupted them. The working girls had all taken to their rooms knowing that there would be no customers on such a miserable night.  Madame Flournoy had stationed herself and a bottle of cognac in front of a cheerful coal fire snapping away in the grate of her sitting room. Winters’ man was nowhere to be seen.

Maggie had stripped the sorry bed of its quilt and cover, reconciling herself to the modest theft with the knowledge that Madame had been well compensated for the use of the garret room and its furnishings. After the two escapees slowly clumped down the rear stairs, Maggie scoured the “lost and found—but never returned” closet. Holding a failing Kate against a wall by the kitchen, Maggie had first wrapped her in the bedclothes and then draped a cape over everything.  She had discovered an old pair of felt workman’s boots that she tied to her friend’s lower legs with strips of torn sheeting. Rifling through the rag bin again, Maggie then appropriated for herself a man’s greatcoat, left behind by a customer seeking to flee without paying for his pleasure.

Ears and faces protected by some drapes that had finally been deemed too decrepit to grace even a whore’s boudoir, the two had struck out from the house.

Earlier, in the garret room, while Kitty still had had her wits about her, she had dug her treasures out from their hiding place behind the commode cabinet. She thrust them into Maggie’s hands, saying only, “Sacre Coeur…Montmartre. Safe there.”

Now with their boots and outer clothes clogged with snow and ice, the idea that two women—one terribly ill, the other having taken most of her exercise either running up stairs to the garret room or on her back in her own—could slog over two miles in an early blizzard was proving to be ruinously optimistic. Leaning Kitty against the post of yet another unlit streetlamp, Maggie looked back upon their path and was both pleased and horrified to see that their footprints were already nearly filled in. She could not see more than one hundred yards ahead. In her heart, Maggie knew that they were on a fool’s errand…that they would never get to Montmartre.

But try they would.

Porthos dragged one tired hoof in front of the other as Jacques turned the wagon onto the Rue Vignon, finally pointing toward St. Denis. The surrounding buildings cast the street into a gloom that was enhanced by the lack of any streetlights.

Hmmmf…even the lamplighters have gone to ground.

Rue Vignon was usually inaccessible to Robard as the gendarmes would have chased him off the residential thoroughfare. He would have had to keep to the alleys or take the long way around. Tonight, though, he could drive down the middle of the street without fear of reprisal. There was neither a soul to slow him nor an omnibus to compete with his tired horse.

Nearing the intersection with the Rue Tronchet, he noticed someone straining to make their way north. He had plenty of time to realize that the snow-crusted form was actually two people, one clearly helping the other. They were struggling.

Never one to hold himself immune to another’s misery, Jacques urged Porthos along with a quick flick of the reins. Pulling up alongside the pair slowly weaving along, Jacques shouted to make himself heard over the weather.

“Hien…puis-je vous aider?”[i] (can I help you?)

Robard’s world stopped and would never again spin the same.  The taller of the pair quickly turned toward him. A gust of wind whipped down the canyon between the apartment blocks and lifted the wrappings off of the greatest present the Frenchman had ever received…a vision of his future found in a cloud of auburn hair and brilliant green eyes set in the palest of skin.

Maggie held out a sagging Kate to Jacques who had leapt from his seat. Settling her birdlike weight on the wagon’s bed, he scraped the few remaining pieces of hay left behind on the warped floorboards around her body for the tiniest bit of extra insulation. As he helped Maggie up to lay her down beside Miss Bennet, a frisson jolted through him when he grasped her forearms, even though she was wrapped in layers of coat…and he wore massive workman’s gauntlets.

Regaining his composure, he asked a simple question.

“Ou?”

Without a word, Miss Small, late of Poplar, handed him a dog-eared carte de visite, a hand painted rose gracing the reverse side.

Giveaway Time! I am sure you are thinking FINALLY! So bear with me for another 2 minutes 😀

I am also very pleased to be able to be giving you a chance to enter this giveaway for this amazing book! Even if I were you guys, I would go straight to the buy option *smiles sheepishly* Just follow this link;

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b10/?

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

Or you can follow these links and buy BOTH books, in this amazing and unique series!

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Though if you want to know more of Henry Fitzwilliam and his mysterious past, then follow this link;

https://www.amazon.com/Henry-Fitzwilliams-War-Wardrobe-Novella-ebook/dp/B01L0W7ILA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498120262&sr=8-1&keywords=henry+fitzwilliam%27s+war

That’s it dear readers, happy reading and happy summer holidays! Off to read another regency book *smiles sheepishly and waves*

Interview with Gianna Thomas

And I’m back, dear readers! After busy weeks at university, and another passed paper yay! I have found time to do a small interview with lovely author Gianna Thomas, after reading her newest book, “Darcy vs Bingley”

Darcy vs Bingley

Thank you for joining me, Gianna, here on my blog, I’ll jump straight to my questions.

S: How did you get the idea for Darcy vs Bingley?

G: I woke up one day with the perfect set down for Caroline Bingley from Mr. Darcy and wrote it as a one-shot on FanFiction.net. Had not been thinking about writing that. It just came out of the blue. And it worked very well.

S: When were you first introduced to Pride and Prejudice? And Darcy, Bingley, Jane and Elizabeth

G: Years ago, I read Pride and Prejudice on my own. Don’t remember what I thought of it back then. However, in November 2012, I acquired Abigail Reynold’s “A Pemberley Medley” and fell in love with the P&P variations. I bought two more of her books and began acquiring more books over the next few months. Diana J. Oaks “One Thread Pulled” permanently set the hook, and I became an avid P&P what ifs fan. By the end of 2013, I had published “Attending a Ball” which was the first prequel for my “Darcy and Elizabeth Series” and added over 200 variations to my library.

S: Did you find the audience of Fanfiction readers helpful while writing the book?  Would you use Fanfiction again?

G: The FanFiction readers were a great help. I had only planned a one-shot as you’ll recall, but the readers loved it and wanted more. Did I want to do more? Did I have more to add to the one-shot? The answer was ‘yes,’ and I’m delighted they insisted because I loved doing “Darcy vs Bingley”. It would not have happened if they hadn’t clamored for it. I had also mentioned to the readers that I would consider suggestions because at first I wasn’t sure where I was going to take the plot. Several of the suggestions were excellent, and I did incorporate them into the book, and they made it better.

I had used FanFiction for “Darcy Chooses” posting when it was still being offered for pre-order as I’m doing for “Darcy vs Bingley”.  Since the new book will be in Kindle Unlimited, all but the first three chapters will be removed by April 24th as the book will be released April 26th.

I will use FanFiction again but not for my current WIP “Elizabeth’s Choice” the sequel to “Darcy Chooses”. The sequel to Darcy vs Bingley, which I hope will be released in the autumn, will be posted to FanFiction.

S: How did you come up with the funny moments where Caroline Bingley is made ridiculous?

G: I helped raise my three brothers, so I identify more with guys than gals. I’ve always had more men friends than girl friends because of my brothers and because the traits of some women, that I find in abundance in Caroline Bingley, are rather off putting. The catty comments and the tendency to gossip particularly malicious talk are major traits of Miss Bingley and are ones that repel me. So, I just increased her bad tendencies and wrote about the reactions I felt recipients of her sharp tongue and wrath would display. Especially if they didn’t take her seriously. 😊

S: Was any of the plot inspired by family or maybe even friends?

G: The scene when Richard first arrives was inspired by guy gatherings and the things they do or say.

S: Will there maybe be a sequel to Darcy vs Bingley?

G: Oh, yes! Darcy vs Bingley wouldn’t let me stop with just the one book. I mentioned a Caroline Bingley sequel to the FanFiction readers, and a number of them mentioned that they would like to see a sequel written. So, a sequel about what happens to Caroline after the Netherfield Ball and her subsequent marriage is being pondered for the autumn, and I already know some of the scenes that will appear.

S: Will you do a book tour? With a chance of giveaways?

G: I don’t do book tours. As far as giveaways, I gave two away with my monthly post on AustenAuthors.net where I introduced Darcy vs Bingley. I also gave away eighteen ARCs to reader/reviewers for an honest review. At the moment, I’m not planning on any more giveaways for Darcy vs Bingley but will have at least two giveaways for its sequel in the autumn.

S: Did your new book give you a new view of Darcy and Bingley? And maybe even Elizabeth and Jane as well?

G: Yes, my Darcy was not so uppity and was attracted to Elizabeth from the start. Bingley had a bit more spine than Jane Austen’s. Elizabeth was not so prejudiced as she also was attracted to Darcy when she first met him. When Darcy refuted Wickham’s charges, Elizabeth was quicker to admit she was wrong about both of them. Jane is basically the sweet person she’s always been. I’m not sure that I could see her in any other role other than with a quiet and mild spirit.

S: Which of the Bennet girls do you prefer to write about? And do you have a favorite character from the original book?

G: Definitely, it would have to be Elizabeth. She and I have a number of traits that are similar, so

I identify with her readily. Again, she would also be my favorite character from the original Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is not very likable until his letter to Elizabeth. And though Austen’s Darcy is not very swoon-worthy at first, I try to make my Darcy’s a bit more swoon-worthy. Sigh! And, yes, I still prefer Matthew Macfadyen. 😊

S: And lastly is there a new project being written?

G: Elizabeth’s Choice was originally scheduled to publish in April, but it will be May or first of June because Darcy vs Bingley demanded to be written first. All I could do was go with the muse because my head was filled only with Darcy vs Bingley. Elizabeth’s Choice has been started, and I have part, if not most of the plot already mapped out. So, hopefully, I can stay on schedule.

And that’s it for now dear readers! Summer is coming, and I wish everybody a very nice summer filled with friends, travels and sun!